Liberal Arts

Liberal Arts is a program for students with a passion for human culture. There is plenty of space for students to develop their own community and as much learning as possible takes place in very inter-active settings. Small group discussion is built into all classes. There are also important extra-curricular activities such as trips to museums and theatres in New York, Boston, Montreal and Toronto.

Discover The Liberal Arts Program

The program explores the Western cultural tradition in its myriad ways of expressing itself-art, literature, philosophy, music, science, society, politics, religion and so on.

Why study Liberal Arts at Bishop’s?

The Liberal Arts program offers Major and Honours programs, both of which are structured to accommodate students wishing to combine studies in Liberal Arts with studies in other programs.

Program strengths

  • What does it mean to flourish, to live a full human life? Liberal Arts explores the most profound answers human beings have given to this the most important of questions!
  • Don’t lose the forest for the trees! Instead of being an expert in one thing but naïve in most nearly everything else, Liberal Arts students are encouraged to become well-rounded citizens-equally at home in conversations about everything from political events to the latest forms of art and film, from the greatest works of Western literature to new developments in the natural and social sciences.
  • Set out on a journey toward a rich and rewarding career! Liberal Arts majors have become doctors and teachers, workers in the third world and business people, lawyers and politicians. Since Liberal Arts does not pigeon-hole you, you will find yourself richly prepared for any number of fascinating and fulfilling careers. It is a fact that employers of all types respect and admire the kind of student who has taken a passionate interest in the full breadth and depth of human life. Liberal Arts majors who have made the most of their time at Bishop’s nearly always find it easy to get into graduate school, law school and to find excellent jobs.

Popular courses

  • Introduction to Western Culture: All first year students enrol in a small, intimate seminar course in which they get to know each other and initiate their career in Liberal Arts with the careful study of one of the world’s greatest pieces of philosophy or literature.
  • The Foundation Courses: Liberal Arts majors take courses that focus on particular historical periods, and study the most important philosophical, scientific, artistic and political events of that moment in the human journey.
  • The Interdisciplinary Seminar: In your last year at Bishop’s you gather with everyone in your graduating class for a small-group, intensive study of an interdisciplinary theme. It is a chance both to explore a rich and interesting topic and to do so with the very people with whom you will share the graduation stage a few months later.
  • The Honours thesis: Students can spend a large part of their last year writing a detailed, interdisciplinary thesis on whatever theme they find most interesting and engaging.

Did you know ?

  • First year Liberal Arts students spend a Saturday in Montreal-we attend theatre and dance performances, visit art galleries and dine in one of Montreal’s many famous and delicious restaurants.
  • Liberal Arts students are invited to visit New York City. Students travel to New York, which is quite close to Bishop’s, and spend four days exploring the incredible culture of the famous Big Apple. You will visit some of the world’s greatest art galleries, perhaps see a Broadway show and enjoy some of New York’s famous nightlife.
  • Liberal Arts majors attend and discuss everything from lectures to music performances, plays to art gallery openings – as part of their regular studies!
  • Liberal Arts majors not only receive a broad and interdisciplinary education, but we organize the program so that you can easily do specializations (majors and concentrations) in other disciplines. This gives you all the advantages of a broad Liberal Arts education and specialization in one field. Arguably, Liberal Arts majors leave Bishop’s with the most thorough education you can get, and with excellent prospects for the future.
  • Our Liberal Arts program is part of a rapidly growing movement across North America and Europe that seeks to return to the study of the great themes of human civilization, that laments the over-specialization of our culture and that strives to create well-educated citizens for a robust rather that subservient democratic society.

Courses & Programs


Where can this lead me?

Liberal Arts and Your Career

Are you worried that a broad, interdisciplinary education will not give you the kind of specialization you need to get into graduate school or to pursue a career? All the evidence points in the opposite direction: Schools of graduate studies, employers of all kinds, including in the business world, are looking less for narrowly focused specialists but broad-minded, well educated and articulate people. Besides, the Liberal Arts Programme makes it easy to combine a specialization with your interdisciplinary education. Bishop’s Liberal Arts graduates have had an extraordinarily high level of success in their endeavours. Bishop’s Liberal Arts is particularly good preparation for careers in:

  • Education at all levels
  • Work with non-governmental organizations, charities and social work agencies
  • Law and politics
  • Medicine, the natural and social sciences
  • Private sector business

Student Testimonials

The Liberal Arts program at Bishop’s has taught me respect for many different cultural and scientific pursuits. More importantly, however, it has taught me the value and practice of learning, as well as incorporating new knowledge into a continually maturing attitude towards life. The experience of the Liberal Arts degree at Bishop’s has affected my life far beyond the classroom, beginning with regular attendance at theatre and music performances around campus, and eventually finding its way into conversations with my best friends that last late into the night. Thomas Posie '08
After spending several years in the professional theatre world where the creative process exercises physical impulses, I was looking to challenge my intellectual cravings, to hone my writing skills, to cultivate my thinking into articulate expression. Bishop’s was one of very few universities in the country that offered an interdisciplinary degree, one that essentially encourages you to integrate art, history, religion, philosophy, and sociology, basically all humanities. My professors were all highly educated, passionate and challenging teachers who were continually accessible both in class and during office hours. Coupled with the small classes I felt I was experiencing the highest form of education – one that valued my individual contributions while inspiring me to think carefully. Many people questioned my Liberal Arts pursuit, wondering, “What can you do with a degree like that?” My answer, “Anything you want to do.” I am living proof of that. At present I teach theatre in the Creative Arts program at the CEGEP level and was offered (over other applicants) to teach an integral course to the program – a history of Western Art within a socio-historical context – specifically because of my Liberal Arts degree. Not only have my employment opportunities broadened based on my BU studies but also my creativity as an artist – I’m currently working on a one-woman show aiming to tour across Canada. My time at Bishop’s remains one of the most rewarding periods in my life. Laurel Thomson '06